It is the number one question I receive time and time again.
Whether you exercise because you want to lose weight, or are just trying to be as healthy as you can be, there are guidelines to follow that will help you get to where you want to be. And while diet plays a major part in a healthy lifestyle, exercising regularly is a major part of the equation.
If you want to . . .
Lose weight: Creating a deficit in calories, resulting in weight loss, is hard work. Most recommendations say that to lose weight, you must exercise for at least an hour a day, five times a week. The type of exercise matters, too. The best way to exercise for weight loss is the kind that gets your heartbeat up. Therefore, light-intensity exercise — like walking or doing household chores — will keep you moving but will not contribute very much towards your goal. You must burn more calories than you consume in order to lose weight.
Maintain weight loss: Those who are most successful at keeping the pounds off after losing a significant amount of weight are the ones who, among other healthy lifestyle habits, work out for at least an hour a day.
Stay healthy: A regular exercise routine is a powerful way to lower your risk of getting cancer and other diseases. The American Cancer Society recommends that you get at least 45 to 50 minutes of exercise five times a week to help lower your breast cancer risk. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that all adults under 65 at least do moderately intense cardio, 30 minutes a day, five times a week or vigorously intense cardio, 20 minutes a day, three days a week, to lower risk of disease and keep their hearts healthy.
Spending 300 minutes a week sweating takes dedication, and it can be hard to work in an hour each day devoted only to fitness, so it's OK to break it up. As long as exercise is moderate to vigorous (meaning your heart beat is raised and breathing becomes harder, as in a brisk walk or a run), you can achieve the same benefits by breaking up exercise into 10-minute bouts. So don't think you have to block out a whole hour before you start your day. Incorporate heart-pounding activities throughout!